Georgia school lifts suspension of student who posted photos of crowded hall
A 15-year-old Georgia high school student who was suspended after she posted now-viral photos and footage of fellow students, some of whom were not wearing masks or face coverings in crowded hallways, said her punishment has been lifted.
“This morning my school called and they have deleted my suspension. To everyone supporting me, I can’t thank you enough. If I’m not responding it’s because my life has been somewhat crazy the past few days,” Hannah Watters, a student at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Ga., tweeted Friday morning.
To be 100% clear, I can go back to school on Monday. I couldn’t have done this without all the support, thank you.
— hannah (@ihateiceman) August 7, 2020
Watters shared photos and video footage, as well as tallies of her fellow classmates who were wearing masks as a protection against the coronavirus, earlier this week.
Day two at North Paulding High School. It is just as bad. We were stopped because it was jammed. We are close enough to the point where I got pushed multiple go to second block. This is not ok. Not to mention the 10% mask rate. pic.twitter.com/JKbGYqG9RS
— hannah (@ihateiceman) August 4, 2020
— hannah (@ihateiceman) August 5, 2020
The five-day suspension she received has been wiped from her record, The New York Times reported.
A second student, who has asked that their name not be disclosed, was also suspended after sharing similar photos online, BuzzFeed News reported. It is unclear if that suspension has been lifted as well.
Watters acknowledged that she breached a school policy that bans filming students and posting images to social media without their consent. However, she told the Times that she does not regret raising awareness about the lack of social distancing measures in her school.
“My mom has always told me that she won’t get mad at us if we get in trouble as long as it’s ‘good trouble,’” Watters said, invoking the famous phrase from the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).
“You’re bettering society and bettering the world, so those consequences don’t outweigh the end result,” she said.
School superintendent Brian Otott told parents in a letter this week that “some individuals on social media are taking this photo and using it without context to criticize our school reopening efforts,” a local news station reported.
The Hill has reached out to the Paulding County School District for comment.
Masks are encouraged, but not required, at the Georgia school. The district’s guidelines say that staff members will try to require students to maintain social distancing, but that it would be impossible “to enforce social distancing in classrooms or on school buses unless it is a class or a bus with fewer students,” the Times reported.
North Paulding High reopened for the year on Monday. There have already been reports of a coronavirus outbreak among the school’s football team, according to the Times.